Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM
GEOSCIENCE EDUCATION AND PALEOECOLOGICAL RESEARCH IN LATE PLEISTOCENE FLOOD DEPOSITS NEAR KENNEWICK, WASHINGTON
Since the late 1800s, mammoth finds have been reported at many sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. The last several years have seen increased efforts to understand the paleoenvironmental and paleoecological impacts of regional late Pleistocene outburst floods on these animals. In Benton County, Washington, some 45 sites have been documented; 26% have been found in outburst flood deposits. Since 2008, researchers from the Burke Museum, University of Washington, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), and Columbia Basin College have partnered with K-12 teachers and students, community organizations (e.g., Ice Age Floods Institute; Rotary; Fun, Fit and Over Fifty Club), and local volunteers in excavation and laboratory research at one such site, the Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site (CCMS), under the aegis of a nonprofit educational organization, the Mid-Columbia Basin Old Natural Education Sciences (MCBONES) Research Center Foundation. MCBONES has sponsored numerous workshops for teachers and community volunteers since 2008; teachers receive clock hours for participation. Site excavation began in 2010, using teachers, students, volunteers, and interns from PNNL. A mammoth club was established at Kamiakin High School (KHS), providing students opportunity at CCMS to complete their required senior culminating projects. PNNL interns conduct independent research on site. These initial efforts yielded three posters presented at the 2010 GSA annual meeting; one was presented by a KHS teacher and another by a former KHS student and PNNL student intern. CCMS researchers, teachers, and students continue to make presentations to regional community organizations, science fairs, and gem and mineral shows. As the CCMS research team reflects on the recently completed digging season, new strategies to engage students and the community in paleoecological research are being explored. These include instructional sessions for teachers at the school district’s yearly Focus on Instruction Program and tours of the CCMS site run through the Kennewick Community Education Program.